/// Amazon’s "West Wing" Exclusive Could Be Very Short

July 20, 2012  |  All Things Digital

Aaron Sorkin fans with a jones for his “West Wing” days can now get their fix: Amazon has added the series, along with “Fringe” and other Warner Bros.-produced shows, to its Prime Instant Video offering. It’s now standard issue for Amazon and Netflix to announce new additions to their subscription video catalogs, but this one has a slight twist. Amazon will have “West Wing” and “Fringe” exclusively — but that exclusive only lasts “for the summer.” What happens after that? It’s not clear: Amazon will continue to have access to the show, but other digital video subscription services could also offer it, if they’re willing to pay up. So Amazon’s exclusive could effectively last beyond the summer, or it could end in a couple of months. It’s a small deal any way you cut it. But in the big picture, it points out that the value of “exclusive” content is still a fluid notion for digital distributors like Amazon, Netflix and Hulu. All three of them are going to offer many of the same shows, because content owners like to sell their stuff as many times as they can. So you can see “Battlestar Galactica” on both Hulu and Netflix, for instance. And you can see “Dora the Explorer” on both Netflix and Amazon. But all three distributors also want stuff that distinguishes their catalogs from those of their competitors. Not necessarily because they think consumers will pick one service or another, but because they want to give consumers a reason to add their service to their entertainment offerings. How they do that is more art than science. On the one hand, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has been willing to make very expensive bets to get his hands on upcoming originals like “House of Cards” and new episodes of “Arrested Development”, both slated to run next year

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Amazon’s "West Wing" Exclusive Could Be Very Short

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